Starbucks ristretto vs espresso: do they have different tastes?

Nothing beats coffee on a busy day to keep you alert and energized. While most people always ask for their coffee drinks to be made with espresso since it is at the heart of many Starbucks drinks, I sometimes ask for ristretto, which is a restricted or shorter version of espresso. I enjoy ristretto because even though the result is a smaller serving due to less water being used, it results in a more concentrated serving with a richer and sweeter flavor. I realized that most Starbucks coffee lovers do not know the difference between a conventional espresso shot and a Ristretto shot. Thus, I created this article to help you learn the primary differences between ristretto and espresso.

What are the differences between Starbucks ristretto vs espresso?

Features/Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks Ristretto

Starbucks Espresso

Ingredients

Espresso, water

Brewed Espresso

Taste Profile

A sweeter, richer flavor with a caramelly sweet finish

A rich flavor and caramelly sweetness

Accessibility/Availability

Easy to access every day in a Starbucks store near you all year round.

Easy to access every day in a Starbucks store near you all year round.

Roast Level

Dark roast

Dark roast

Starbucks ristretto vs espresso – How They Compare

Starbucks ristretto

Ingredients

The ingredients Starbucks uses when preparing its ristretto shot are espresso and water. The Starbucks ristretto shot is prepared using the same espresso roast as the full espresso shots. However, less water is forced through the coffee grounds when preparing the ristretto shot. The final product is a smaller, more concentrated shot with a richer, sweeter flavor and a caramelly finish.

The Starbucks espresso is prepared using brewed espresso. The Starbucks espresso has rich flavor notes of caramel. The espresso is at the heart of everything Starbucks does. 

The Starbucks ristretto wins in this category because its ingredients and meticulous preparation give it a richer, sweeter flavor that comes with a caramelly finish. 

Taste Profile 

The Starbucks ristretto is prepared by passing hot water through the Starbucks signature espresso roast for a shorter time. The result is a more concentrated shot with a richer, sweeter flavor and notes of caramel. 

On the other hand, the Starbucks espresso is prepared by steeping the Starbucks signature espresso roast slowly in cool water for approximately twenty hours. The outcome is brewed espresso, which has a rich flavor with caramelly notes.

The Starbucks ristretto wins in this category because it is more robust and sweeter than the Starbucks espresso. 

Accessibility/Availability 

The Starbucks ristretto is available in all Starbucks shops around the world. Similarly, the Starbucks espresso is easy to access and readily available in a Starbucks shop near you throughout the year.

This category is a draw since both are easy to access and readily available in a Starbucks shop near you throughout the year. 

Roast Level

Roast level is crucial because it determines the strength and boldness of a coffee. The Starbucks ristretto is prepared with dark roast coffee, giving it a richer, sweeter flavor with caramel notes. 

Similarly, the Starbucks espresso is prepared using dark roast coffee and has a flavor with a caramelly finish. 

This category is a draw since both are prepared using dark roast coffee. 

Starbucks ristretto vs espresso: A comparison overview

Starbucks Ristretto – Overview

Starbucks ristretto vs espresso

Starbucks ristretto is perfect for you if you love a coffee with an extremely strong flavor. It is prepared with the same espresso roast as the full espresso shot. As mentioned earlier, when preparing the ristretto, the barista pushes less water through the coffee grounds. 

As a result, only the flavor compounds dissolve fast and end up in your ristretto shot. The shot is less bitter and full-bodied than a long or fully extracted espresso shot. The Starbucks ristretto shot is smaller, highly concentrated and has a richer and sweeter flavor with a caramelly finish. 

I like its richer and sweeter flavor with a caramelly finish. However, I do not love its simpler flavor-only the mellow, light, and volatile components dissolve into the hot water due to the shorter extraction time. It is suitable for you if you like a highly concentrated coffee shot. 

What I liked;

  • Its richer and sweeter flavor with notes of caramel
  • It has a moderate level of bitterness and acidity. 
  • It is highly concentrated. 

What I didn’t like;

  • It has less caffeine because of the shorter extraction time. 

Who it’s best suited for.

  • Best suited for coffee lovers who prefer concentrated shots with a moderate coffee content. 

Starbucks Espresso- Overview

Starbucks espresso

Starbucks espresso if you love a coffee with a rich flavor. The Starbucks espresso is prepared with Starbucks’ signature espresso roast. The latter is a dark roast coffee; therefore, the Starbucks espresso shot has a rich, bold flavor with caramel notes. 

I like the Starbucks espresso’s rich flavor with sweet caramel notes, but I’m not too fond of its high caffeine content. It is suitable for strong coffee lovers. 

What I liked;

  • Its rich flavor with sweet caramel notes

What I didn’t like;

  • Its high caffeine content

Who it’s best suited for.

  • Best suited for strong coffee lovers. 

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? – Starbucks ristretto vs. espresso

Ristretto is better than espresso. It is so because it results in a more concentrated serving with a stronger, richer, and sweeter flavor since less water is passed through the coffee beans.

FAQ Section

Is a ristretto stronger than an espresso?

Less extraction time and less water mean less caffeine. Even though the difference is slight, a Ristretto has a little bit less caffeine than espresso; thus, the latter is stronger.

Which one takes longer to make between a ristretto and an espresso?

More water is passed through the coffee grounds when making espresso; thus, it takes longer to make.

Which one is bitterer between espresso and ristretto?

Espresso is bitterer than Ristretto. Extraction time is the reason there is a difference in taste and texture. Since ristretto is restricted, meaning less water is pushed through the coffee beans, only more of the flavor that dissolves quickly is concentrated in the drink, making it more full-bodied and less bitter than espresso, which is fully extracted.

Leave a Comment

ABOUT CONTACT PRIVACY POLICY

Starbmag.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.